Calanchi: when the mountains seem designed

  • What are the badlands
  • How badlands are formed
  • The badlands in Italy: where to admire them
    • The badlands of Aliano and Pisticci in Basilicata
    • Castignano in the Marche
    • Cannizzola in Sicily
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The badlands are the result of the phenomenon of erosion that has affected some mountains over the centuries and appear as grooves that descend along the sides of a mountain or a hill . Finding yourself in front of this natural spectacle has something magical and it is the umpteenth demonstration that nature is able to give us extraordinary phenomena, which literally leave you speechless. The formation of these erosions depends on the type of rock, which must have a scarce vegetation cover and a clay component. Fortunately, however, also in Italy we can admire some calanques and it is something that is really worth seeing.


What are the badlands

In the geomorphological field , the gullies are erosions in the ground similar to grooves that are formed as a consequence of the washout of the water on the clayey rocks. Explaining in a scientific way how they are formed is not at all simple, but what you need to know is that for these erosion phenomena to take place it is necessary to have the coexistence of some factors, both as regards the conformation of the terrain and the climatic and topographical conditions of the area. .

How badlands are formed

Badlands are formed when the substrate is made up of clayey and impermeable soil , which makes it possible for the water to flow out and is therefore devoid of vegetative coverings which would represent an obstacle in this sense. As we have mentioned, however, for these grooves to form, particular climatic conditions must also be present. In other words, very rainy and dry periods must follow, the soil must be exposed to the sun and during the cold season there must be gelation phenomena. The badlands are therefore a complex phenomenon that requires very particular conditions but fortunately there are areas of our Peninsula that have precisely these characteristics.

The badlands in Italy: where to admire them

The badlands in Italy were particularly formed along the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines and in Basilicata, while these phenomena are practically absent in the Alps. To admire these spectacular grooves in the mountains we can go to Sicily, Basilicata, but also the Marche.

The badlands of Aliano and Pisticci in Basilicata

The badlands of Aliano, a few kilometers from Matera in Basilicata, are the most famous in Italy and the scenographic impact is truly incredible. In this area the landscape is made up of mountains of white clay that seem not even to belong to this world. Once in Aliano one gets the impression of being in a magical, suspended and mysterious world where the gullies draw incredible paths. Beautiful is also Pisticci, the village famous for its white houses that seem almost drawn if viewed from afar.

Castignano in the Marche

In the Marche, the gullies can be admired in various places, but the most evocative of all is the village of Castignano , which stands on a hill rich in these erosion phenomena.

Cannizzola in Sicily

In Sicily, on the other hand, we can admire the Cannizzola badlands, in the Simeto Valley which is located near the provinces of Enna and Catania.


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